NEW DELHI (AP) — A boy’s suicide this week in southern India after his mother scolded him for playing an online game has inflamed a national debate over whether the game should be banned.
The 16-year-old’s father demanded a ban on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, known by the acronym PUBG, after his son hanged himself at their Hyderabad home following a reprimand for wasting time online rather than studying for an English exam, according to Indian news reports.
At the heart of the conflict in India is a cultural norm: Parents expect their children, many of whom live with them well into adulthood, to concentrate on academics and professional pursuits.
And supporters of a ban say the game can be a deadly distraction. In March, two men in their twenties playing the game on their phones near railway tracks in Maharasthra state were killed by an oncoming train, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
A few cities in the central Indian state of Gujarat have already banned PUBG, citing concern that it was making players violent and distracting students from schoolwork. Since then, two dozen young people across Gujarat have been arrested for violating the ban.
A movement against PUBG in Gujarat began in January, when the state’s public education department ordered schools to place a moratorium on the game until April 30, the end of the academic year.